I want you to know what you’re signing up for. What you’re getting into, that is. I don’t want you to think that what you know of me is all that I am. I love that you love me, for all that you do, but you don’t know me as well as you will. If you find out who I am, if you know me thoroughly and fully, and you still love me, then that will be true. If not, my heart might break. I want to know as much about you as I can. I want to know what you look like when you’re waking up in the morning with your eyes still half-lidded and dreams clinging to you. I want to know how you sound when you shout and the pitch of your voice when you murmur. I want to know what makes you worry and what makes you laugh. Do you want to know all these things about me? If you don’t, then there can’t be any love that is true. If you want to be with me, here are some things you should know.
I want you to want to know about me, the good and the bad. You will learn the way I tilt my head when I’m listening with all my attention, and the way I nibble on my lip when I’m anxious or distracted. You’ll find out that I love to sing, even though my voice can’t reach all the notes, and that when there’s a song on that I love and I’m alone, or almost alone, I will dance and jump and swing my hips around like a crazy person. You will know my curves and angles, the movement of my shoulders when I crowd close and the way I curl up with my feet folded under me. My moods jump from ordinary to gleeful at unexpected times, and I sometimes surprise myself with my own happiness. When we sit together, I will lean my head into the round of your chest, below your collarbone, and press my skin to yours. I will make ridiculous jokes and let off peals of laughter at myself. Sometimes they will actually be quite funny, because I can be clever when properly fed and rested. When I’m hungry or tired, I’m more silly than witty. I will look at you the way I look at nobody else. I am kind to people as much as I remember to be, and I think about it a lot. I smile at strangers. I hope you will love me for this.
When I am anxious, I am irritated by everything, and I snap under my breath at what you do; that is, I will, when you know me. When I am tired, sometimes I am wandering in my wits and you will find it funny, but sometimes I am spiky and angry because all I need is to sleep. Occasionally I take offense to what people do or say, and the reasons won’t make sense. I can be thoughtless and selfish. I need reassurance more often than you might want to give it. I will go into long rambles at times about my work or my family or my dreams last night, and I will expect you to listen. Pieces of my body cause me pain and I complain about it, and I’ll expect you to accept that too. I’m embarrassed by my singing voice, but I want you to pretend it’s okay, and when you’re around me a lot you’re going to have to deal with listening to me. Sometimes I don’t bother to shave my legs for stretches of time. I have a gastrointestinal system, and I don’t want to ever talk about it. I am prone to getting sick, and I will demand soup and somewhat unnecessary solicitude. If you don’t love the television and the books and the movies that I love, I’ll be annoyed at you about it. I am defensive when I feel that I’m being criticized, and sometimes critical without thinking. In the mornings I am almost always grumpy. There is nothing you can do about it, but I will want you to try anyway. You should make me tea, but I will probably not have time to drink all of it.
Know, please, that this is an incomplete list. You’re thinking of entering into something that isn’t certain, and I’m not all cataloged. I hope you will spend a long time reading the fine print.
Sign on the dotted line
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